When it comes to responsible gun ownership, proper storage should be one of the first things considered. Gun safes can range from massive vaults that require special flooring support to small safes just big enough for one handgun. Hornady is a reliable brand for security and today we will look at Hornady’s Alpha Elite Lock Box. This lock box is just big enough for one gun or other personal valuables and it comes with a cord, so it’s perfect for on-the-go security. It’s best for your car or if you need a small lock box when you travel.
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Specifications of Hornady’s Alpha Elite Lock Box
The safe weighs in at nearly 5.4 pounds, and for a good reason. It’s due to the 16-gauge steel housing protecting your firearm. This steel is A36 mild carbon steel alloy with a tensile strength between 58,000 and 80,000 psi. It’s one of the most commonly used metals for structural purposes in the U.S. Why? Because it’s proven to do a great job of withstanding damage, whether accidental or intentional.
The exterior dimensions of the safe are 10.25 x 8 x 2.75 inches with the interior being 0.75 x 7.5 x 2.25 inches, a size fitting most 1911 pistols, 4-inch revolvers, and smaller personal items. The inside is lined with a layer of premium protective foam sheets perfect to protect your firearm, even more, to prevent damage while the gun’s inside.
Prying hands—or tools—can’t get inside this lock box with ease. According to the manufacturer, crowbars will struggle to deliver thanks to the pry-resistant band around the edges. It’s also resistant to children, making this a safe option for families trying to secure their firearms (just keep it locked and make sure the kids don’t know how and cannot access the means with which to open it). It also meets and surpasses California Department of Justice standards and American Society for Testing and Materials standards, including testing in:
“Cycle test, picking test, plug torque test, manipulation test, handle torque test, drop test, tensile strength test, shock test, saw test, pry attack test, hinge attack test, and flammability test shall be performed to meet the requirements prescribed.”
So yes, this lock box is fairly secure and certainly more secure than many similarly designed ones on the market. But, it’s completely grabbable, so how do you stop a would-be thief from just walking off with it?
Well, Hornady has a line of defense to prevent this. The lock box comes with a patented 3-foot-long cable rated to withstand 1500 pounds. It would take an amount of force beyond what a human can create by hand to break the cable, so unless the thief is coming truly prepared it will take more than some snippers to break.
The cable is designed to be wrapped around something stationary and bolted down, like the frame of your car seat, or an extremely heavy object, to secure it. And since it’s TSA-approved, it would make a good option for travel when other storage isn’t available. Just make sure you know and follow the rules of TSA and the airline you’re traveling with when flying with firearms. Despite its overall strength, the cable is fairly malleable, so it can be wrapped, twisted, and turned around your object of choice.
Now, if somehow the thief gets past the cable, I will say the lock is pretty sturdy. Hornady uses a barrel key lock, also known as a tubular lock, which is known for how difficult it is to pick. It would take a heavily experienced criminal with a bit of time to pick it since it’s no traditional lock. Due to the arrangement of the pins, this lock has to be picked by a professional or drilled out if you lose your key as there is no universal fix.
Another thing to note is that Hornady will not replace the keys provided if you lose them, so keep track of them. The company doesn’t play around with security.
The Best Way to Use a Hornady Elite Lock Box
Small safes can be a gamble because they can be picked up and carried off if the correct precautions aren’t taken. Thieves are typically watching for opportunities, so make sure they don’t have one (and if you’re securing a handgun in your vehicle because you’re about to enter a non-permissive environment, do it somewhere you won’t attract attention).
Remember that in theory any lock can be broken, picked, or drilled, so don’t rely on the integrity of the lock box and just leave it out in the open. Make sure you conceal it when it’s in use to the best of your abilities.
Use the cable strategically. Make sure you attach the cable around something completely stationary, or heavy enough that moving it would be a challenge. For use in your vehicle, consider keeping this under the seat of your car and wrapping the cable around the solid bars under the seat.
If you’re using it in your home and want to employ the cable, it’s best if you attach it to something bolted down or heavy, like a wooden king-size bed frame. Of course, that’s not a perfect solution, so keep that in mind when securing the safe. Overall, just be smart with where you place it and understand how to remove any opportunity for theft.
I find the most use in putting this under the driver’s seat of my car. Concealed carry is currently off the table for me due to my age but transporting it in my car is not. Having defense close by is comforting and knowing it’s hidden and anchored helps even more. Keeping my key on my keychain keeps it quickly accessible to me and since Hornady provides a spare, I can keep one at home in case something happens to the 1st.
Another thing I enjoy doing is putting a location tag—such as an Apple AirTag or Tile—under the foam layer. This assures that if the safe itself was taken I may be able to know the whereabouts of my possessions. Given, that isn’t always assured to work since items may be taken and the rest left behind, but it gives peace of mind for certain scenarios.
Personal items other than guns deserve security too. It isn’t quite big enough for typical documents, however, it can hold smaller forms of identification like passports and licenses, valuables such as jewelry, and anything else you’d like to keep locked up. For personal items around the home it’s still best to utilize the cord it comes with. A home is a great opportunity with many hiding spots to choose from that you’re familiar with, so be smart. And remember, this style of safe isn’t meant to replace a securely bolted-down design for long-term storage (Hornady makes those, too).
The Hornady Alpha Elite Lock Box is perfect for proper storage on the road or in the air. The cable it comes with secures the safe well as long as it’s used thoughtfully and worst case scenario, the lock itself isn’t easy to crack. With proper use, this safe is a great choice.